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15 April 2021, Gateway House

Inserting India into U.S.-Israel Defence Technology Cooperation

Israel and the U.S. have become India's top arms suppliers, with companies from these countries participating in the 'Make in India' initiative. These robust defence partnerships can be elevated, by inserting India into the U.S.-Israel defence technology cooperation corridor. What are the geopolitical and domestic limitations that India must tackle in this effort? What benefit will the U.S. and Israel gain from a partnership with India? This paper studies the U.S.-Israel defence technology corridor, and suggests potential collaborations for India. It recommends the three innovation hubs, Silicon Valley, Tel Aviv and Bengaluru, coming together to maximise their respective strengths and declared national technology priorities.

Fellow, International Security Studies Programme

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Over the last decade and a half, Israel and the U.S. have become India’s top arms suppliers, and a robust defence partnership is underway. Beyond pure defence trade, Israeli and U.S. defence companies have participated in the ‘Make in India’ initiative, focusing on technology transfers and the co-development and co-production of technologies.

This is the moment for India to capitalise on these two critical, bilateral defence partners, and particularly the start-up innovation hubs of Silicon Valley and Tel Aviv. How can India insert itself into the U.S.-Israel defence technology cooperation corridor, and participate in the development of emerging technologies like quantum computing and artificial intelligence in defence? What benefit will the U.S. and Israel gain from a partnership with India?

This paper studies the U.S.-Israel defence technology corridor, and suggests potential collaborations for India. It will necessitate the three innovation hubs of Silicon Valley, Tel Aviv and Bengaluru coming together to capitalise on their respective strengths and declared national technology priorities. Bringing a like-minded, tech-savvy democracy like India into the arc of the U.S.-Israel partnership will offer a trinity of benefits: a robust and tested edge in emerging technologies to the three militaries over their adversaries, develop interoperability, and reinforce their access to the Indian market.

The greatest benefit will be for India, which has been set back by lengthy defence acquisition procedures, and will do better with a modern defence base at home. India will have to overcome the geopolitical hurdles of its defence relationship with Russia, and of Israel’s reported defence ties with China and Pakistan, to build a sturdy trilateral cooperation.

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Download the PDF of the paper here.

Sameer Patil is Fellow, International Security Studies Programme.

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